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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Tithe by Elle Hill ♥ Fun Facts, Book Tour & GIVEAWAY ♥ (Sci-Fi Paranormal Romance)

Every seven years, the towns sacrifice their sick and disabled. No one has ever survived the angels’ harvest. Until now.

“Every seven years, seven persons from each of the ten towns must go into the desert, where they will enter into the realm of Elovah, their God.”

No one knows exactly what happens to these seventy Tithes, but everyone knows who: the “unworkables,” those with differing physical and mental capacities. Joshua Barstow, raised for twenty years among her town’s holy women, is one of these seventy Tithes. She is joined by the effervescent Lynna, the scholarly Avery, and the amoral Blue, a man who has spent most of his life in total solitude.

Each night, an angel swoops down to take one of their numbers. Each night, that is, except the first, when the angel touches Josh… and leaves her. What is so special about Josh? She doesn’t feel special; she feels like a woman trying to survive while finally learning the meanings of friendship, community, and love.

How funny that she had to be sacrificed to find reasons to live.
Five fun facts about The Tithe

1. Elovah, the towns’ god, forbids eating animals.

2. The main character, Joshua, was named after the Joshua trees that grow in the Mojave Desert.

3. The Tithe takes place in a post-apocalyptic, utopian society in which the remaining humans, after being decimated in 2012 by “Elovah’s cleansing fire,” reside in ten desert towns in what would now be called Southern California.

4. With the exception of orphans, whose last names are their town names, every citizen’s name has three components: their first name, their mother’s name (if they’re female) or father’s (if they’re male), and “d’Ijo” (bastardized Spanish for “child of”).

5. Katy Perry’s E.T. song inspired the angel component of The Tithe. The inspiration for the apocalypse part came from the 2012 Mayan calendar, end-of-the-world hype.

Five facts (maybe not fun, but at least interesting, I hope) about writing The Tithe.

1. Almost all of the characters in The Tithe have some kind of illness or disability. Because my academic work focuses on bodies, I had to constantly fight the tendency to make everyone have a physical disability. This is why science invented Post-It notes.

2. To inspire me, my best friend bought me a gorgeous painting of a Joshua tree silhouetted by a blazing sunset. I reference the painting when discussing the art on Ima Emm’s (the quasi-equivalent of Mother Superior’s) walls.

3. I decided to make race a complete non-issue in The Tithe. Rather than being shoved into unnatural racial categories, skin color and eye shapes are just natural expressions of physical differences. Everyone in the novel is merely a shade of brown, from the ivory of Lynna, Josh’s best friend, to Josh’s beige and Blue’s brown.

4. I was a good 20% of the way through writing the book when I finally decided to make Blue, the novel’s love interest and second main character, male. I originally envisioned Blue as an androgynous, perhaps sexless character. After discussing the issue with my now-fiancé, -- who reminded me that people buy romance novels to escape the messiness of life and its ambiguous categories – I decided to make this a pretty traditional romance where girl and boy meet and fall in love.

5. The Tithe’s religious system, from its rituals to its terminology, is an amalgamation of the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. I did this in part because it’s interesting to recombine what history has splintered but also – and let’s be honest – because I’m a big fan of sticking with what I know. I grew up Christian, and my fiancé is Jewish. Easy knowledge pickins. Granted, I don’t know as much about Islam, but that’s why the Internet exists, right?
“I don’t want to die.” The words surprised her, spinning so artlessly from her lips.

“I don’t want you to die,” Blue agreed.

“What about you?” Josh whispered.

He didn’t respond for a long moment. “It doesn’t much matter, I guess.”

“Of course it matters!”

“If you say so,” he said.

“Blue,” she began, and then stopped. “Blue, why? Aren’t you scared?”

His blue eyes remained completely empty. Had his mouth not moved, she might think him a statue. “No.”


“Because I don’t matter. I’ve spent my life existing. Sometimes I think the best thing humanity does is provide sustenance for bacteria and other symbiotes. And then there was here. And you, Joshua Barstow.”

“I’m not special,” she insisted.

“You exist so grandly, so loudly, I can feel you. The air trembles around you. You walk through a room and atoms collide. Everyone here can feel the greatness of your being. They may love you or despise you or want you to lead them, but everyone notices you.”

She exhaled a startled breath. Blue, her friend, her bodyguard, her socially-backward philosopher. Her hand moved to his hair, smoothing through its knots. When her voice returned, she told him, “You matter, Blue.”

“I don’t,” he said gently, as if imparting an uncomfortable truth to a child.

“You matter a lot to me,” she carefully enunciated, unsnarling a particularly knotted tangle.

“Well, then.”
Born in Idaho during the height of disco, Elle Hill now chicken-pecks at the keyboard while rocking out to Donna Summer and KC and the Sunshine Band. She worked in Idaho for several years as a secretary and journalist before moving to California and selling her soul to academia. After receiving her PhD in Sociology, Elle Hill became a not-so-mild-mannered college instructor by night and a community activist during the remainder of her waking hours. Always a journalist and writer at heart, one of her favorite pastimes includes publishing commentary on the political and social state of the world; some of her thoughts are posted on her blog at

Elle welcomes visitors to her website at She also urges everyone to become a superhero and adopt their next non-human companion from a local animal shelter.
Hunted Dreams by Elle Hill was nominated for a 2014 RONE Award!   
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  1. Thanks for sharing your facts with us. I think the painting sounds like a beautiful inspiration

    1. Thanks, Shannon. It`s a gorgeous painting; my best friend has mad aesthetic taste. :)

  2. Hi, everyone. My thanks for letting me hang my hat here for a day. :)

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, MomJane! I had a great time coming up with trivia. :)

  4. I love the fun facts! How much research did you do for the story? All my dogs came from the shelter.

    1. Thanks, Ash.

      I researched a number of things for _The Tithe_: various disabilities, chronic pain, the Mojave Desert, and so on.

      Yay for you, rescuing your furkids. I used to do animal rescue, and most of my furkids came from that period in my life. Rescue animals -- and the peeps who rescue them -- rock! :)


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